DREAM THEATER singer James LaBrie spoke to "Breaking Absolutes" host Peter Orullian about the writing and recording process for the band's upcoming follow-up to 2019's "Distance Over Time" album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When the songs were done, and then we were constructing the melodies, and John [Petrucci, guitar] and I got together, and it was really cool. I'm the kind of lyricist that I like my melodies written before I start doing my lyrics, because I just find that that also lends itself to the emotion. And then the emotion kinds of lends itself to the subject matter.
"With this album, all I can say is that the music as a whole, and now with the vocals on top of it… I don't know. I'll just leave it at this. I said to John when I was finishing the last vocal, I said, 'You know what? We just upped the ante.' I said, 'We just hit a whole new level.' And I said, 'This is our 15th freaking album, and we've done it again. We've upped the ante. There's something going on here that I think the fans are just gonna flip out when they hear it.' And he goes, 'I said that to my wife the other night. I was sitting down. I was listening to the album from front to back, and I was freaking out.' And I go, 'Same here. I'm listening to these songs when we're done, and I'm going back to the hotel room and I'm listening to them, and I'm going, 'Holy shit. What the hell is going on here?'' And I think it's very exciting. And even Jordan [Rudess, keyboards] — he was FaceTiming me, going, 'Holy shit.' He's all amped up. He's, like, 'Is it just me or are you hearing this stuff?' And I'm, like, 'No, man. There's something really cool going on here.' And he's going, 'The fans are gonna freak out.'I go, 'Yeah, they are. They really are.'
"Now, all that being said, I can't really delve [into it in more detail]," he continued. "And I'm sorry for being so ambiguous. That's about as accurate as I can get.
"I will say this: in a few weeks, I take off, and I'm going down, and we're doing a big photo shoot, and we're shooting the first video for the first single, or what we consider a single. What the hell's a DREAM THEATER single? What is that? What the hell is a single anymore? So I'm going down and we're shooting a video for that. So we're all pretty excited about this. The ball's starting to roll. The label's really, really psyched. They can't wait to get this in the high gear."
Earlier this month, Petrucci told Germany's Thomann that he and his bandmates had been working on the new DREAM THEATER album since October. "And I am super excited about it. The record [is] filled with energy and excitement and positivity. I'm excited about it. I can't wait for people to hear that."
DREAM THEATER's new album is tentatively due in the fall.
"Distance Over Time" marked DREAM THEATER's first album for for Sony Music's progressive imprint InsideOut Music. The group spent the past 25 years recording under various labels in the Warner Music Group system, most recently Roadrunner Records, which released five albums by the band between 2007 and 2016.
DREAM THEATER recently released its ninth career live album, "Distant Memories - Live In London". Recorded at DREAM THEATER's sold-out show at the Apollo Theatre in London, the live release documents the band's world tour in support of "Distance Over Time" and the 20th anniversary of their seminal concept album "Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory".